Last weekend one of my sisters (I have three) came to stay. She timed it very badly. My mum was supposed to be moving house over the Easter weekend but a variety of unforseen circumstances meant that the move was delayed by a week. So Debbie’s nice relaxed family weekend by the sea took an interesting turn and Saturday turned into a day of packing boxes and shifting furniture. We were all nursing colds too so by the end of the day we were tired and grubby and aching in places we didn’t know we had muscles.
Being the ever attentive hosts, Martin and I then abandoned Debbie and went out to a friend’s wedding reception where we drank champagne and ate gourmet food. I confess to feeling a little guilty – but only a little – and I did share the jar of Gummy Bears that I received as a wedding favour!
To make ammends we all took the day off on Sunday and had a lazy start with brunch at No 4 before heading home to a fire and a film. On Sunday evening I made Lemon Chicken for dinner but also wanted to make a dessert. I have made this one before and it should really be called indecisive pie. The conversation goes something like this:
“Shall we have pie for pudding?”
“Yes or maybe a crumble”.
“OK, apple? Or perhaps rhubarb?”
“I don’t mind either would be good… Or maybe both?”
And so the apple and rhubabrb crumble pie was born and lo – it was good. On Sunday the indecision continued and we served it with cream and ice cream too. Decadent, indulgent and comforting, it was exactly what we needed.
If you are making this pie feel free to indulge your own indecision too; should you put raisins in the pie or cinnamon? Add both. Nuts in the crumble or seeds? You know how it goes by now. Experiment and enjoy, we certainly did.
Debbie is back in Manchester now and has taken our cold with her (for which I do feel guilty) so maybe one of her friends can bake her their own version of this pie – just until she is feeling better and can return the favour.
For the pastry
225g / 8oz Plain Flour
150g / 5oz cold Butter
25g / 1oz Icing Sugar
1 large Egg
2 tbsp Water
For the crumble
75g / 3 oz Butter
100g / 4 oz Plain Flour
50g / 2 oz Demarara Sugar
50g / 2 oz Hazelnuts
50g / 2 oz Oats
For the fruit filling
3 Large Bramley Apples
4 Stalks Rhubarb
1 tsp Cinnamon
A Knob of Butter
2 tbsp or so of Golden Caster Sugar
Pre-heat the oven to 180 C / 350 F / Gas Mark 4.
To make the pastry put the flour, butter and icing sugar into a food processor and pulse until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Add the egg and water and pulse again until it forms a ball. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 20 mins.
Roll out the pastry very thinly on a floured work surface until just a little bigger than the size of a greased 28cm / 11” deep, loose-bottomed tart tin. Lay the pastry over the tin and ease it into the base and up the sides. Leave any excess hanging over the sides of the tin. Place on a baking sheet and then chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Once the pastry is chilled trim off the excess.
Peel, core and chop the apples and chop the rhubarb. You don’t have to be too accurate about the chopping, different sized pieces at this stage give the finished pie a range of textures which I like. Melt the knob of butter in a pan, add the fruit and cinnamon and put the lid on. Cook over a low heat until only just beginning to soften. Remove from the heat and taste; add the rest of the sugar if you want it to be sweeter. Set aside to cool.
To make the crumble rub the flour, oats and butter together until they resemble coarse breadcrumbs. Coarsely chop the hazelnuts and stir in along with the sugar.
Spoon the fruit filling into the pastry case using a slotted spoon if it is very liquidy. Sprinkle the crumble mix on the top. Place in the oven (still on its baking sheet) and bake for around 35-40 minutes until the pastry and crumble are both cooked and golden brown.